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Fine Artists

Fine artists create sculptors, paintings, graphics, watercolors and drawings. Fine art is a visual art that has been created for aesthetic reasons and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness. The word "fine" indicates the purity of the discipline. Some fine artists work with a variety of materials and others specialize in a particular material. Fine artists create original artwork.

The artwork of fine artists is usually displayed in commercial art galleries, museums, private homes and corporate collections. Some fine artwork is commissioned (created upon request of clients), however most artwork is sold via private art galleries and dealers. Usually the artist and the gallery owner decide in advance how much each of them will receive from a sale.

Responsibilities

  • Attend art exhibitions and read art publications
  • Create art out of substances such as clay or wax
  • Study techniques, styles, colors and materials for restoration processes
  • Build a clientele
  • Create sculptures and statutes
  • Build and maintain an artistic portfolio
  • Develop budgets for approval

Job Characteristics

Fine artists often work alone. They work in warehouses, lofts and office buildings. Some fine artists work from their homes. Some artists share studio space with others and sometimes use the space to exhibit their work. Self-employed artists usually spend a lot of time and effort trying to sell their work to potential customers or clients and for building a reputation.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor statistics forecasts a 6 percent growth rate from 2006 to 2016 for artists and related workers which is faster than average for all occupations. There is keen competition for jobs for artists and related jobs. However, galleries, studios and clients are continually looking for artists that show outstanding talent, style and creativity.

The median annual earnings for salaried fine artists in 2006 was $41,970. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $79,390. The earnings for artists that are self-employed vary widely. Some artists only charge clients a nominal fee while they acquire experience and build a reputation for their artwork. Some well established freelance fine artists earn more money than salaried artists.

Some fine artists attempt to earn a living via sales of their artwork, however many fine artists cannot make a living just from art sales. Many fine artists teach at art schools, colleges or public schools to supplement their incomes. Some work in art galleries or museums as curators or as directors.

Competition among artists to have their artwork shown in galleries is projected to remain intense. Competition for grants from private foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and State and local art councils is expected to remain intense.

Some fine artists earn income by providing private art lessons, conducting workshops or by teaching art classes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that about two-thirds of fine artists are self-employed. The rest of them typically have full-time jobs and create art during their free time.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

A large number of colleges and universities provide bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts. The programs usually include classes such as art history and studio art, natural science, social science and English. Independent schools of art also provide studio training in fine arts and provide certificates and associate and bachelor's degrees in fine arts. When compared to academic programs at universities, the independent art school programs have a stronger emphasis on studio work.

Those seeking to teach fine arts at a public school typically are required to have a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate. Management and administrative positions in foundations and government agencies as well as teaching positions in colleges usually require an advance degree in fine arts or arts administration.

An artist's portfolio is a major factor for clients and directors in deciding if they want to hire an artist or contract for their work. Internships are beneficial for artists for developing and improving their portfolio.

Resources

Major Employers

The top employers are colleges, art galleries, public schools, museums and foundations.

Schools for Fine Artists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Fine Artists Skills

Below are the skills needed to be fine artists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Critical Thinking3.253.25
Active Learning3.253.38
Active Listening3.123.25
Reading Comprehension33.12
Speaking32.88

Fine Artists Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be fine artists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Originality4.384.62
Visualization44.25
Fluency of Ideas44.12
Visual Color Discrimination3.755.25
Arm-Hand Steadiness3.753.75

Fine Artists Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be fine artists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Design4.355.23
Computers and Electronics4.245.1
English Language3.874.19
Production and Processing3.594.2
Fine Arts3.454.3

Fine Artists Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being fine artists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Thinking Creatively4.85.82
Getting Information3.912.87
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work3.724.54
Making Decisions and Solving Problems3.573.67
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships3.564.78

Fine Artists Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being fine artists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.81
Dependability4.74
Integrity4.52
Initiative4.48
Stress Tolerance4.18

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Fine Artists

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Fine Artists jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim1,630 $80,400
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue270 $57,070
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward200 $66,620
Columbus180 $32,020
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach160 $47,610
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell160 $51,210
San Antonio-New Braunfels150 $22,040
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land140 $42,560
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington130 $43,240
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk130 $90,130

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Employment
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Total employment and salary for professions similar to fine artists

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Fine Artists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.